Do all divorces have to go to court?

Many clients who are just starting the divorce process wonder whether or not they will be required to go to court at any point during the process. In fact, many of them want to avoid going to court as much as humanly possible because it may be seen as an added layer of stress in an already tumultuous process.

This is a somewhat of a difficult question to answer because in order to get the divorce, you have to go to court, meaning someone has to file divorce papers. If the case is uncontested, meaning you have a separation agreement signed, while someone will have to file in court, your physical presence in a courtroom is not required in New York State. The divorce is granted on papers. For example, if you were to get a divorce through mediation, you would conduct the steps of obtaining a divorce in a conference room through several meditation sessions. You talk through the issues of equitable distribution and child custody or support matters and come to a resolution peacefully without a judge.

However, if the case is truly litigated or a contested divorce and there are court conferences scheduled. In the state of New York the rules outline for a litigated divorce that unless the court excuses a party from attending court, the parties must be at every court appearance.

This requirement is unique to matrimonial law. For example, in personal injury law, it is not necessary for the clients to go to court unless there’s a trial and they are to testify. In matrimonial divorce law in New York State, unless the judge excuses your appearance, you are required to be in court for every conference or what have you that you need to go to court for.

If you require experienced legal representation for divorce and family law matters, contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Paige, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.